Hot Sauce

Registered by ottawabill of Ottawa, Ontario Canada on 4/24/2004
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT | Bol.com
12 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by ottawabill from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Saturday, April 24, 2004
This is one of two releases by a gay couple that felt there were no gay men's romance novels out there and so they would create some.

It will be interesting to see how well they succeeded.

Journal Entry 2 by ottawabill from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Monday, April 26, 2004
This is a good gay romance novel.

Like the straight romance novel the ending is a predicatble happy one...but is it the ending you will expect ? No spoiler here.

The authors have crafted a fun read, with an interesting plot and reasonably well defined charcaters. The dialogue is good, the love scenes are hot hot hot, the humour is campy and bitchy, and you feel for main character.

Like many gay novels, the key characters Brad and Troy are impossibly handsome (even the flawed Brad who feels chubby ends up really being an adonis) and both are either rich or very well-off (the from-the-poor-side-of-the-tracks Brad now owns three of Boston's premier restaurants). They are incredibly sought after.

The plot has the usual stereotypical devices dipped in gay ...rich boy attracted to former white trash self-made but overly humble hunk, evil mother-in-law, pulls-a-rabbit-out-of-his-hat best friend, suffering misunderstood outcast "girlfriend", and caniving sinister but rebuffed competitor. there are enough characters to keep it interesting but not so many that you need pencil and paper to keep track of them.

But despite these standard contrivances the story moves along well, you are not sure where the twists and turns will take you, and when the end comes you are ready for it to be finished. It will make great summer reading but at $20C a softcover book it may not be a best seller, but will likely make the rounds between freinds and bookcrossers (of course).

It is a fun read, one of those books you love to loan and hesitate to admit you own.

I have a few folks in mind for the next read on this one or I may offer it up on the GLBT book relay. If not, I'll make it available.

Journal Entry 3 by ottawabill at on Sunday, August 15, 2004
Released on Sunday, August 15, 2004 at another bookcrosser in a controlled release, n/a Controlled Releases.

the bookring for this book has started.

To learn more about it click on http://www.bookcrossing.com/forum/20/955879/Bookrings-started-but-can-still-sign-up

Starting with GoryDetails

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, August 23, 2004
Hot Sauce arrived safely in today's mail; many thanks! It looks like a quick, fun read, so I should be able to pass it along soon. [Love the enclosed Beefcake Boys postcard, too - I don't suppose anybody's got a release copy of that one, do they? {grin}]

Journal Entry 5 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, August 30, 2004
First impressions: some typos, needs an editor badly, hero's an insecure whiner - but, OK, it never pretended to be more than a fluffy romance (with lots of sex and some very drool-worthy meals as well). [Example of needs-an-editor-hood: Early on, our hero has just described his feelings about setting up housekeeping with his lover in terms one might use to describe a fine wine; rather nice, that, but then comes the unnecessary note, "As a chef, he often thought of love and sex and relationships in terms of flavors." By way of expanding on this theme there are several more paragraphs of food/sex comparisons, which were fine, but why bother explaining? The reader already knows Brad's a chef and the food comparisons are pretty obvious...]

Favorite quote: "And unlike Troy, four hours sleep was not enough to tide Brad over. Fifteen hours would have been nice. Followed by breakfast in bed and a full-body massage by six sculpted members of the United States swim team in their tiny blue Speedos." The grammar's not impressive, but the imagery is just fine {grin} - and not only because I like sleeping in as much as Brad does! It occurs to me that this is a book designed to be read aloud to one's lover, in bed, surrounded by exquisite munchies - or by a group of friends in a pub, with much hilarity - either would be great fun!

Annoyances: Brad's "faghag and best friend" Chessie is an over-the-top wild child who seems almost dangerous to know; why Brad puts up with her (or she with him) is not clear. She's so extreme that she's a parody, and while some of her scenes are funny I think it weakens the story. [Wait a minute - story? What am I thinking?!?] And the villain, Aria Shakespeare (yeah, it's an assumed name, what did you think?), is also a weakness - that is, he's a rather pathetic character and could have been intriguing, but the story only allows him to be a cardboard villain. He's so obvious about it that it's hard to believe he can hang in there the way he does - or that Brad thinks for one minute that Troy would have anything to do with him. If he'd been allowed to be a wee bit more human it would have strengthened the story - er, there I go, fussing about the story again!

To sum up: great food, a plothole or three, steamy-but-not-wildly-explicit sex, a too-perfect lover, and a too-whiny hero (plus a nicely-evil mother-in-law, though even there the "let's make all the female characters into cartoons!" bugged me a bit). Not great literature, but it had its points; and I suspect it would compare favorably to most of the hetero-romance books that it's attempting to emulate. [It occurs to me that this book could be the basis for a really dandy film, btw; Colin Ferrell as Brad, Tom Cruise as Troy, Leonardo deCaprio as Aria... {exceedingly wicked grin}]

Thanks for sharing, ottawabill!

The book's already on its way to the next person on the bookring, BCer AwesomeAud; hope you get a kick out of it!

*** Update: I was browsing on Amazon just now and happened to see an entry for a new edition of Hot Sauce due this summer - and the cover picture is, well - check it out for yourselves here. All I can say (after wiping the drool from my chin) is, "Be careful with those beaters!"

*** Second update: apparently that cover was too hot for the publishers, so they switched to a cute-cartoony one. But ottawabill has uploaded the original in his journal entry below, so you can check it out there...

Journal Entry 6 by AwesomeAud from New Dundee, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, September 01, 2004
This book came in the mail today! That makes today a wonderful day!! Thank you, Gory Details!

Journal Entry 7 by AwesomeAud from New Dundee, Ontario Canada on Friday, September 10, 2004
I finished this in no time! It was a fun, quick read, and at least as good as drugstore Harlequins, and with some hot sex scenes! Thanks for sending me this, and I'll put it in the mail for the next person, asap!

Here's the list:
GoryDetails, Nashua NH, USA
AwesomeAud, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Mojosmom, Chicago, Il, USA
SandDanz, New Albany, Indiana, USA
Mrsjones, Hamilton, Ohio, USA
Calvarez, Newport Beach, California, USA
Caligula03, Hayward, California, USA
friend of abs, Caifornia, USA
Spacedog, Boston, Mass. USA

Edit: to correct some of the names on the list, according to OttawaBill.

Journal Entry 8 by ottawabill from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Friday, September 10, 2004
Thanks for the journal entry AwesomeAud...it made me realize I hadn't updated the list....one of the bookcrossers should be Caligula03 not simply caligula...that's a different bookcrosser.

Hopefully everyone will take note !

Journal Entry 9 by mojosmom from Chicago, Illinois USA on Saturday, September 25, 2004
Just arrived today. I'll pop it on top of the TBR pile so it can get to the next person in a reasonable period of time.

Journal Entry 10 by mojosmom from Chicago, Illinois USA on Sunday, October 03, 2004
Definitely not great literature, but a quick, enjoyable read. Though if the hero doesn't overcome his inferiority complex, and his lover doesn't stop being so self-centered, this relationship may not last!

Journal Entry 11 by mojosmom at on Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Released 15 yrs ago (10/12/2004 UTC) at

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

On its way to SandDanz

Journal Entry 12 by SandDanz from Louisville, Kentucky USA on Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Just received in the mail yesterday... unfortunatly, I have a few rings ahead of it, but I'm trying to read fast. I'll get this one back on the road ASAP. Thanks Ottawabill!

Journal Entry 13 by SandDanz from Louisville, Kentucky USA on Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Finished reading this book yesterday. I must admit I did enjoy the book... this was my first book to read in this genre (are books on gay men a genre of their own? *grins*) Anyway, as GoryDetails mentioned, the book definitely needs to be edited. I found myself tempted to fill in missing letters throughout the book, but I restrained myself. The sex scenes were a bit of a learning experience as I am not too familiar with all of the positions and sexual habits of gay men. This intrigued me! Now I'm looking forward to reading the next book Ottawabill has sent out on a ring! :)

Thanks so much for sharing! I will be sending this out to Mrsjones very soon!

Journal Entry 14 by SandDanz at by mail in To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Released on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 at about 3:00:00 PM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) at by mail in To the next participant, A Bookring Controlled Releases.

RELEASE NOTES:

Sending to Mrsjones who is next in line for this bookring! :)

Journal Entry 15 by mrsjones from Hamilton, Ohio USA on Sunday, November 28, 2004
Received in the mail yesterday. I'll probably start reading it tonight. Thanks!

Journal Entry 16 by mrsjones from Hamilton, Ohio USA on Sunday, December 05, 2004
I liked the book. Troy and Brad were likeable characters, though like Brad, I did wonder about Troy's sincerity. The sex scenes were well written and the story flowed nicely. I think this may be the only book I've ever read where the word "faghag" was used to refer to certain characters. :)

Overall, I think it was a lot of fun. I'd enjoy reading more by these authors.

Sending it on to calvarez4

Journal Entry 17 by calvarez4 from Oakland, California USA on Thursday, December 09, 2004
It arrived this afternoon. I'm in the middle of two very serious books right now, so this will provide some very welcome fun reading. I'm done with work early, so I actually think I'll go curl up and start it right now :)

Journal Entry 18 by calvarez4 at on Friday, December 10, 2004
Released on Friday, December 10, 2004 at about 8:00:00 PM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) at Controlled Release in Hayward, California Controlled Releases.

RELEASE NOTES:

I can't remember the last time I read a book this quickly! I loved it. It was semi-trashy and fun, and in that way, the exact opposite of most of the books I choose to read. Oh, that Aria Shakespeare. You just wanted to slap him!!

It was exactly what I wanted to read today. Thank you, ottawabill, for sharing this! It's all packed up, and I will mail it to caligula03 in the morning.

Journal Entry 19 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Woo hoo! Hot Sauce is here just as I'm mailing out Razor Burn. I will read Hot Sauce as soon as I can. :)

Journal Entry 20 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Thursday, February 10, 2005
Hot Sauce didn't hold my attention like Razor Burn did. Razor Burn took place in a business world I understand — marketing. High fashion and gormet cooking are not my thing so all the descriptions of cooking and dressing got rather boring after awhile. That leaves a man, Brad, who is too insecure to confide in his boyfriend and the boyfriend, Troy, who is too clueless to ask Brad what's on his mind. Then there is Aria the overdone killjoy who is so obviously not Troy's type to be an unbelievable character. All of the "tension" between the two men is forced and the chemistry just doesn't seem as believable as it was for the main characters in Razor Burn.

Journal Entry 21 by caligula03 at on Thursday, February 10, 2005

Released 15 yrs ago (2/19/2005 UTC) at

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Mailing to friend of abs on my next trip to the post office.

Journal Entry 22 by caligula03 from Hayward, California USA on Thursday, March 31, 2005
Howdy everyone. The book came back to me. Friend of abs has apparently moved with no forwarding address. I will be contacting Spacedog for an address.

Journal Entry 23 by ottawabill from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Sunday, April 03, 2005
The new cover design for the book...woooooooo whoooooooooo

Journal Entry 24 by spacedog from Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Friday, April 29, 2005
got as part of a bookring. thanks!

Journal Entry 25 by spacedog from Cambridge, Massachusetts USA on Sunday, May 22, 2005
i enjoyed -razor burn-, but i quickly grew annoyed at the superficial characters in this. the book was much longer than it needed to be, the plot ridiculously simple, and being "beautiful" and being rich are really not high on my list of ideals, even in a romance like this. i read to ch. 10 but skimmed the rest. i think this was their first book; hopefully their other books are more like -razor burn-. ottawabill said the book should go to greyflank next, so i'll mail it out as soon as i get the address. thanks!

Journal Entry 26 by Greyflank from Brick, New Jersey USA on Friday, June 03, 2005
Got it in the mail yesterday, thanks Spacedog!

Oh, my... am I the last one in the ring?

I am going to make this my read at work book. I am currently reading ALEX THRU THE LOOKING GLASS at work and while it's an interesting read (men with huge egos... I could listen to them talk about themselves for hours), I know nothing about snooker... and it is written with the expectations that I should know something of the game. I guess I was hoping for something either along the Angela's Ashes Irish upbringing or that I could perhaps learn the game with him. I will likely release that book tonight... if it's dry.

Then I could start Hot Sauce Monday. :-)

Journal Entry 27 by mojosmom from Chicago, Illinois USA on Sunday, June 12, 2005
Oh, LOOK! HUGE article in today's New York Times about Scott & Scott! I'm posting the whole thing here because I don't know how long it will be up on their site.



A New Romance

By ALEX WITCHEL
Published: June 12, 2005

"Troy let the towel on his waist drop. The morning light falling into the room put his abs and pecs and nipples into perfect relief. • Brad gasped, as if it was the first time he had seen what was hidden beneath. Troy was a magnificent specimen of manhood. At 33, three years older than Brad, he had the firm, hard stomach of a high-school athlete. His muscles were naturally lean and ropy; he was strong, but he had none of the false bulk of a steroid queen.''

Say amen, Dorothy. This Oz is the brave new world of the gay male romance novel, a world where there are never cowards, only condoms; each of the heroes has a brain, even if it takes until the end of the story for one of them to use it; and the abs, if not tin, most likely resemble iron. More specifically, we're talking ''Hot Sauce'' (Brad is a chef), being published this week by Warner Books and written by a real-life couple in love, Scott Pomfret and Scott Whittier of Boston, whose joint nom de plume is Scott & Scott. Pomfret, 36, a lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Whittier, 30, a medical-advertising copywriter, saw each other across a crowded dance floor four years ago and started living and writing together soon after. They have already self-published three other romance novels, ''Spare Parts,'' ''Nick of Time'' and ''Razor Burn,'' which have sold 2,500 copies, nearly half through their Web site, Romentics.com. (Yes, really.)

This month they're aiming for the big time, with 12,500 copies of ''Hot Sauce'' in print and fervent hopes that with gay marriage in the news -- and legal in their own state -- gay men may be more willing than ever to claim their inner Cinderella and read up on Prince Charming. Certainly, most people's everyday lives could use a little more charm and a lot more prince, and after visiting each Scott's workplace, I found that they are no exception.

On an early May morning, Pomfret, on loan to the United States Attorney's office for a corporate-securities fraud and perjury trial, cut a dapper figure with his shaved head and Brooks Brothers suit as he approached the bench at the federal courthouse. It was amusing to imagine what those jurors -- goggle-eyed with boredom -- might make of Romentics. If nothing else, its characters are certainly more scintillating than the witness who repeated ''I have no independent memory of that'' for the better part of an hour. (Suddenly, the amnesia plot line of ''Razor Burn'' made perfect sense.) As for his co-workers, Pomfret told me during dinner the night before: ''It being Boston and mostly Irish Catholic, most of them are married and have kids. So they're excited for me. They know what I'm doing is out of the ordinary, but they basically have no idea what it is.''

Whittier, who is very slim with close-cropped hair, was standing in the couple's kitchen arranging fat blackberries around individual lemon custards and rolled his eyes, as he is wont to do. ''We tend to be more open and inappropriate in my work, so they know everything,'' he said. Earlier that afternoon, when he escorted me to his cubicle (''Where the magic happens'') at Seidler Bernstein in Cambridge, he showed me his ad campaign for Sepramesh IP, a material used to repair hernias: ''The safety you need, the strength you trust and the ease of use you demand. Why compromise?''

Sounds like a condom ad, doesn't it? He sighed. ''All these doctors think about is their own subject,'' he lamented. ''They look at this, and all they see is hernia repair.''

Well, after workdays like these, it's the perfect time to put up your feet and open a romance novel, something women have known for ages. (Even gay women. Ron Hanby, director of gay and lesbian sales for Bookazine, a wholesaler and distributor, says that half of all lesbian fiction sold is romance.) Certainly straight women who read romances have proved themselves to be dedicated consumers. According to Romance Writers of America, the Houston-based professional association, which has 9,400 members, romance novels are read by 51 million people each year and account for 49 percent of paperback sales. In 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available, sales of romance novels totaled $1.41 billion.

Those statistics are good enough for Scott & Scott, who envision a future of books by the yard. In their literary quest to put handsome, talented gay male characters front and center -- instead of relegating them to the funny-bitter-rueful-yet-wise-and-potentially-suicidal neighbor next door -- they have chosen to follow the very particular conventions of romance writing as set forth by Romance Writers of America. Nicole Kennedy, the organization's public-relations manager, says that the form has two basic elements.

''There has to be one man and one woman and, no matter the ensuing complications, an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending,'' she said. ''Which means they either get married or are going in that direction.''

After hearing what Scott & Scott were up to, she didn't miss a beat. ''That would be a nontraditional romance,'' she said. ''But as long as the main plot involves people falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work, as long as the conflict centers on the love story and the climax resolves the love story, then it's a romance novel.'' Or as Whittier put it, ''It's happily ever after, with hot sex.'' And it is hot -- graphic and explicitly written -- within the confines of the heroes' relationship. Because Scott & Scott follow another unofficial convention of the romance novel, which is that once their two main characters fall in love, they have sex only with each other.

Paul Rudnick, the playwright (''Jeffrey'') and screenwriter (''In and Out''), thinks Scott & Scott's project has possibilities. ''True equality demands equal trash,'' he told me. But when he heard about the condition of the heroes' monogamy, he drew the line. ''Then it's not called gay romance,'' he said. ''It's called gay fantasy. Or sci-fi.''

On the Wednesday before Mother's Day, Tania Whittier, 55, closed Tania's Hair Salon in Poland, Me. (it's actually a room in her house), and came to Boston to join the eldest of her three sons for lunch. She and Scott sat at a corner table at Stephanie's on Newbury, where her grass green jacket, green daisy pin and green glass earrings enlivened the room considerably. The family passion for romance novels began with Tania's mother, Florence Mitchell, now 81. When she gave one of them to her daughter about eight years ago, Tania recalled thinking, My mother would recommend that book? She mimed a look of shock, because of the sex scenes, then shrugged: ''My mother took this whole gay thing better than my husband, for Pete's sake.''

That would be Jim Whittier, 59, a truck driver for Freightliner and Western Star of Maine. Scott's smile looked pinched. ''After I met Scott,'' he recalled, ''and my father heard I was coming to Maine for vacation, he told my mother, 'Tell Scott to leave it in Boston,' meaning being gay. So I took Scott straight up to the door, and all my father said was, 'Oh, nice to meet you.''' He sighed. ''His bark is bigger than his bite, and he doesn't like to bark in person. Then Grandma gave us the double bed.''

Scott Whittier tends to vascillate between warmth and surliness, easy with himself one minute, prickly the next. He is given to stagy pronouncements (''You kicked me out of my bedroom to turn it into a salon,'' he told his mother. ''If that doesn't make your son gay, nothing will''), and for all his swagger about his sexuality (''I always say, If you want to know what it is we do, just ask,'' he said, exasperated), he has never sent his mother or grandmother any of his books. ''When you read a romance novel, it's idealized and extreme and involved,'' he said. ''It doesn't mean we don't just cuddle sometimes.''

Tania takes it all in stride. As she and her son perused their menus, he bemoaned having recently turned 30. ''I'm trying to come to grips with it,'' he said theatrically. His mother didn't even look up. ''Me, too -- boohoo,'' she said.

After ordering a Cobb salad, she was ready to talk romance. ''I love the historicals and the westerns,'' she said, her china-doll-blue eyes wide. ''My favorite thing is the elusive love, with them finally getting together in the end.'' For years, Tania had a Harlequin romance membership and each month received four books in the mail. She shared them with her mother and sister. ''We put our initials in them,'' she said, ''so we didn't forget that we read them.''

She admitted that that morning, in Scott's apartment, she had picked up a copy of ''Hot Sauce'' and read until Chapter 3. ''I thought it wasn't bad at all,'' she said. ''Sex is sex, and I don't think we were ever embarrassed about it. If you have kids, all you want is for them to be healthy and happy. They have to decide where that happiness comes from, not me.''

On his way back to his office, Whittier dropped his mother off at the bus station and voiced his regret about the switch Warner had made in the cover for ''Hot Sauce''; the first galley showed a photograph of a naked man holding an electric beater in a bowl at crotch level. The new one is a drawing of the main couple and, at a distance, a third man with bulging biceps (the story's conflict) rendered in pastel hues.

''We were told the buyer for Barnes & Noble said no way about the first one,'' Whittier said. ''The trend is more 'Will & Grace' than beefcake.''

If nothing else, the new cover looks upbeat, which is also Scott & Scott's goal. When they visit gay bookstores, they say, it's all anguish all the time in the fiction department. ''The gay life has always ended tragically,'' Whittier said. ''Couples can't stay together. They commit suicide or get AIDS. Positive relationships are often not portrayed that way.'' Which makes their happily-ever-after series the perfect antidote. In Romentics novels, Scott & Scott's heroes continually triumph over controlling or homophobic parents, and the sex is not only sublime -- and frequent -- but also enacted within a glorious cloak of intimacy and trust that most people, gay or straight, can only wish for.

But their marketing spin aside, says Michael Bronski, a cultural historian and the author of ''Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps'' (St. Martin's Press), Scott & Scott's generalizations about gay fiction are not accurate. ''It is absurd to say that it is all doom and gloom,'' he told me. ''And while I think it is indeed true that there has never been a sustained effort to write gay male romances, there have been lots of different kinds of mainstream gay male writing with quite positive endings since the 40's: Lonnie Coleman's 'Sam,' Gordon Merrick's 'The Lord Won't Mind,' Christopher Bram's 'Father of Frankenstein.' But there's a distinction between popular fiction and genre fiction with a happy ending.''

Not that he holds out much hope for Scott & Scott's success. ''I think 'Will & Grace' was the end of fiction,'' he said. ''Before that, gay people read because they couldn't find themselves anyplace else. Now they can see themselves on TV.''

Don Weise, senior editor at Carroll & Graf, whose authors include John Rechy, Charles Busch and Michelangelo Signorile, disagrees about the series's prospects. ''There's a long-held belief that gay men are only interested in sex and lesbians are only interested in romance, and that is so not true,'' he said. ''There's more crossover than you can imagine. Gay people have had to reinvent romance in new ways. We're allowed to invent ourselves and genres as we go along because those genres were not meant for us in the first place.''

Once we arrived at Whittier's office, he spoke to some co-workers, noting that without them and others, Romentics could not have happened. By calling in favors -- and buying iPods as incentives -- Scott & Scott enticed friends to help design their Web site, shoot its photographs, design the banner ads and produce the press releases. This effort was not lost on Jamie Raab, publisher of Warner Books. ''Authors need to hand-sell books these days, and they had a platform a lot of novelists don't have going in,'' she said.

On our way home, Whittier said: ''Scott writes a lot more than I do. He loves short stories, but I don't like the form. In most short stories nothing happens. I like a market and a hook and a great concept. That's what I hope gay romance is.''

And he never feels limited by the form's conventions? He looked incredulous. ''You have to end up happily ever after, but a million things could happen before that,'' he said. ''It's 'write what you know,' but make it more fabulous.''

Scott & Scott live in a brownstone in the South End of Boston above a storefront whose neon sign says ''Psychic Palm and Tarot Cards.'' Four flights up, their apartment has exposed-brick walls, a working fireplace in the living room, a second bedroom, painted a shade of green reminiscent of Tania's jacket, where the couple write together, and a private roof deck.

Scott Pomfret is the mellow opposite of his younger partner: he is calm and soft-spoken and seems to be made of semicircles -- that bald head, the rounded ears and muscled arms. He is from Wellesley, Mass., the son of a cardiologist (Dad) and a physiatrist (Mom). The third of four children, he graduated from St. Lawrence University, returned to Wellesley to coach high-school football for two years, then went to law school at the University of Michigan. (Whittier, seeking escape from Maine, graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.)

While Whittier cooked, Pomfret talked about his role in Scott & Scott. Though the vision for the romance novels was Whittier's, it was Pomfret who pushed the project forward, waking his partner every morning at 5:30 so they could write before leaving for their day jobs. Working from an outline Whittier creates, one Scott writes a few chapters, then turns it over to the other to write the next few. It seems rather amazing that the relationship has lasted as long as it has.

''I look at it as a challenge,'' Pomfret said evenly. ''This form has its rules, like a legal brief.''

Whittier chimed in from the kitchen to cite one particular moment of horror in their mutual editing process. ''Scott wrote in the margin, 'This is not sexy,''' Whittier recalled. ''And I said: 'What are you talking about? You love that.''

Pomfret looked both abashed and embarrassed as Whittier continued: ''We toyed with playing characters, doing 'You say, I say,' but it didn't work. Anyway, being in advertising, I take criticism every day. It can be helpful.''

As Whittier pulled a freshly baked loaf of bread from the oven, Pomfret poured a pinot noir: the picture of domestic bliss. It brought to mind a comment from Ron Hanby of Bookazine, who had said of Romentics, ''Monogamy is a wonderful thing, but if you have it, it doesn't make for good reading.'' Though he added: ''It's nice to think that a young gay person will read their books and be provided with hope. The one thing missing in the other books out there is the hope aspect.''

That is the most important thing to Scott & Scott. ''Jaded New Yorkers take things for granted,'' Whittier sniffed. ''A gay 30-year-old in red America can feel as isolated as any closeted teenager.''

Pomfret nodded. ''Are these books targeted to the person who spends 90 percent of his time in Manhattan, 5 percent in Europe and 5 percent on Fire Island?'' he asked. ''Maybe. I am convinced that most bitter gay men are deep sentimentalists and rarely let that come out. They are filled with yearning for Mr. Right and want to refer to someone as 'my husband.' What's erotic about gay erotica is the stranger and the strangeness, a complete lack of affection. In our books, the two people know each other. There's a tenderness to it. If you don't want that, then it isn't for you.''

One person with reservations about the books, Pomfret says, is his mother. ''I think she's disdainful,'' he said. ''She sees this as something other people do, not the educated folk.''

Whittier threw up his hands. ''They're doctors from Wellesley; I'm a boy from Maine,'' he said, injured. Of course, in ''Hot Sauce,'' Brad is a boy from Iowa, and Troy comes from an old Boston family. Also like Brad, Whittier is an outstanding cook. Along with the tricolored braided bread -- spinach, tomato and white -- he served honey-glazed salmon over a gratin of apples and leeks, carrot salad and asparagus.

As we ate, they talked about the prospects for their own marriage: neither is in a rush. ''Gay marriage in Massachusetts is more of a legal quagmire than anything else,'' Pomfret said, though he concedes that it is good for their business. ''Originally, 'Hot Sauce' ended in Vermont with a civil union,'' he said. ''We changed it to marriage in Massachusetts when it was legalized and thought, Wow, things are moving forward.''

Of course, not all marriages end happily ever after. Only romance novels do.

''That's O.K.,'' Whittier said, watching as Pomfret cleared the table. ''It might be idealized, but we're putting it out there for gay people to dream about.''

Journal Entry 28 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, June 12, 2005
Thanks for posting the article, mojosmom. (I had to giggle - a bit ruefully - at Rudnick's comment about romance vs fantasy.) Too bad the publishers nixed the cover pic, though I do understand the reasoning. Glad we got to see it, though - and that ottawabill uploaded it here...

[Now returning control of this book to Greyflank!]

Journal Entry 29 by Greyflank from Brick, New Jersey USA on Sunday, June 12, 2005
I am currently at the point where Brad and Troy spend their first night apart in two years. I've been reading this at work and only one person had noted this at work (thankfully, this cover's very generic. Now, she wants to have lunch with me every day. My first Fag Hag! Only, I don't think it counts if you are Bi, does it? :-) And in a committed straight relationship, but I can pretend a little. Can't I?

I've noticed a few flow issues. Nothing big, just a few sentences that seemed to wander away from their best placements. Sorta like the cleaning crew has moved all the furniture and put it back in almost the not quite the right place. Damn good for an indy press, really.

I can't wait until Monday so I can read more!

Journal Entry 30 by Greyflank from Brick, New Jersey USA on Sunday, June 19, 2005
That was rather a sweet tale. I think I haven't read enough straight Romance Novels to compare Scott²'s efforts. I think I might have expected to see more pursuit and the coming together of their relationship if I had been more familiar with the genre, because it seemed strange to me to be reading a "romance" about a couple who was already together. Still, it worked very well and it except for a few points where the HE DID blank TO HIS blank got a little confusing.

I would like to see the mass market version and see if things are clearer in this regard or racier, in point of fact. It was nice seeing gay sex described in less forceful terms with less vulgarity.

I'm on the other Scott² bookring that OttawaBill has out there, although I've forgotten the title. It'll be fun to read that and compare the two to each other.

Journal Entry 31 by ottawabill from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Monday, June 27, 2005
Home again home again jiggity jig. the bf and I retunred this afternoon form Pride in Toronto to find this package waiting for us. Not only did Greyflanks send th ebook but two lovely necklaces of beads ! LOL...what a surprise...they would have been so useful this wekend past in Toronto !!!! LOL

I'm sure we'll think of something delicious to do with them and depending on what it is I may share it here with everyone.

I'm going to hold th ebook for another bookcrosser who has requested it but if there are others who would like to read it please let me know and I'll start another bookring for it !

Journal Entry 32 by ottawabill from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, October 12, 2005
This book is finally on its was to Serbia. What a conveluted story but essentially I messed up on a request for the book and thought it had gone to Finland when it had just gone under the chair.

Finally found and on its way to the requester, while it's sister book Razor Burn is now enroute to Finland. Hopefully in a few months they will rass paths mid-ocean after each of the guys finishes the book and sends it to the other.

Journal Entry 33 by zzz from Rakovica, City of Belgrade Serbia on Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The book has arrived safe and sound.
Bill thank you so much for sending it and for all advices and patience with me.
Don't worry about "confusion" it seems that this is perfect spicy solution ;-)
Cheers!

Journal Entry 34 by zzz from Rakovica, City of Belgrade Serbia on Monday, July 20, 2009
This book was on my tbr mountain too long and it was a high time to be removed from there and to continue its journey. I did try to reach Finn guy but without success so in a day or two this novel will be on its way to my friend in South Korea who wish-listed it.

I don’t read romance novels; they are shallow and predictable, and diabetically-oversweet. I have no idea why I thought gay romance would be different. Gosh what a soap opera this was: Cinderella who stormed out of the ashes to find happiness (the path is as always ”per aspera ad astra” but this time in quite light variant); so much money and so little body fat. Oh yes, the bodies that would make poor Michelangeo’s David ashamed are everywhere you look. Of course there is an evil mother in law (who is transforming into unbeatable force when grab the bottle of hot sauce! That episode was utterly ridiculous!), a snake in the shape of Adonis (because the poison is always packed in the most tempting bottle) and supportive friends who are always there to offer a shoulder to our poor, whining Cinderella.
The characters are just too one dimensional and quite unrealistic. The perfect one is just too perfect (in spite the fact that on several places in the book there is a sentence which says that “perfect doesn’t exist”); bad ones are pure evil, crazy one is completely insane and there is Cinderella who is endlessly messed up: he wants to be loved but accepts possibility that he’s not, he wants to be courageous and firm but well … not right now, he wants to trust but can’t forced himself. He is so bloody insecure that when he starts his inner monologues (or with supportive friends) you’ll hear yourself saying “Oh not again”. No, I didn’t feel any empathy when listening him whining (while I’d gladly try some of those stuff he made when being depressed!). I was wondering why on earth they don’t speak openly??? What an epic lack of communication!

All this would normally lead to conclusion that I’ve read horrible book which bored me to death but that’s not the case. I mean after all I guess this is what romance novels are about: fluffy and predictable with happy ending that will make you wish to drink overpowerfull coffee without any sugar (if you drink it sweet which I don’t) to recover yourself. Indeed it was fun read. The story flowed nicely and I loved the language and the humour (since I’m not native English speaker it was sometimes challenging but it was nice nevertheless).

Maybe I should write one anecdote from last Saturday’s night.
I was at the opening of some paint exhibition which was completely crazy. The title of the exhibition was: "Sadomasochists from the deepness of the grave" and the paints where so fitting the title. After opening there was a party in some club. I wasn't too much interested because I was still recovering from my own birthday party night before but in the end some friends persuaded me to meet them there after midnight. Finding the club was as easy as finding a needle in the haystack; entrance was one big iron door some 5 meters bellow the ground level in some dark passage. But the club itself was enormous, it was underworld so I liked that instantly. It reminded me for some reason on one club from this book but I dismissed that thought instantly. It was strange at the entrance of the club they opened my bag looking for weapon (that's very NOT usual). Anyway I found my friends and we were drinking and drinking and .... dancing and I didn't find any female candidate to "take my heart" (that’s how they persuaded me to come) but I wasn’t glued on that possibility anyway.
I should knew better, it was suspicious from the very entrance but when you're drunk and little stoned your ratio is on standby. Anyway, one guy on the dance floor started to talk with me and I thought he's a friend of my friends (I wrongly believed he was there with us). It was pleasant chat until he asked me:
- "Are you often coming in "Loud & Queer"?
- "Say that again? Loud and what?"
- "Loud & Queer"
- "Is that where I am now?"
- "Umm, yes"
- "No I don't. I believe I accidentally went astray here"
- "Ok since you're here already ..."
- "Oh, indeed temptation is really huge but sadly I'm not drunk that much"


Those idiots of my friends forgot to tell me it's a gay club. "Oh mister since when you became so conservative?" I’m not whatsoever… oh well, in the case of emergency at least I know I have chances on the other side *shrug*

Journal Entry 35 by zzz at a Relay, to another bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Monday, August 31, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (8/28/2009 UTC) at a Relay, to another bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On it's way to South Korea. Cheers!

PS
I'm including this as a part of AROUND THE WORLD CHALLENGE 2009 - South Korea!

Journal Entry 36 by Supertalya on Monday, September 28, 2009
Sorry I didn't journal this as soon as I received it. It was too good to have sitting around the computer!!! :-)

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.